Best quote in the piece: “It seems as though the revenue model for these startups — for the time being at least — is just to raise venture capital.”


Over the past couple of years, Union Square Ventures, already a leading investor in consumer tech startups, has been building up its portfolio in education. It made an early investment in education social network Edmodo in 2010 and, since then, it’s invested in Skillshare, Codecademy and Duolingo.

On Wednesday, Fred Wilson, a managing partner at the firm, gave a little insight into how he and USV view opportunities in education technology as part of an open online course on entrepreneurship in education, called Ed Startup 101. Speaking to a group of ed tech academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, Wilson talked about the role of venture capitalists, potential business models for freemium startups in education and a few areas that are most ripe for innovation.

Until recently, venture capitalists haven’t looked favorably at education, which is notorious for its bureaucracy and long sales cycles. But as startups have…

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About Startup Angel

Gordon is a 25 year veteran of start-ups in the field of digital education and learning management, having founded an e-learning software company (Meliora Systems) in1988. He took the start-up from the bootstrapped stage to an IPO in 1998, through a merger with Paul Allen’s company, Asymetrix Learning, now part of SumTotal Systems/Skillsoft, a leading LMS provider. Since leaving the company in 2000, he has spent his time working with early stage ventures in the ed-tech sector, including both K-12 and higher-ed markets, as well as start-ups developing innovative offerings in the digital publishing, virtual worlds/MMO games for kids, and mobile learning areas. He is also a mentor at Georgia Tech's ATDC as well as Managing Director of Vernon Bridge Ventures, an early stage capital/advisory firm. He serves on the advisory boards of, ExceptionALLY, Rapid LD, and Crescerance. He is also Past President of Atlanta Technology Angels. He has served on the selection committees for Venture Atlanta and TAG Top 40. He also serves as a guest lecturer and business plan competition judge at Georgia State, Emory and University of Georgia business schools. He has made angel investments in mobile learning, online language training and employee wellness companies, and in virtual world start-ups.
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